BlazeAid fencing assistance

BlazeAid fencing assistance

A meeting tonight in Bruthen between BlazeAid volunteers and bushfire-affected farmers will be held at the Bruthen Mechanics Hall at 6pm.

BlazeAid’s John Anderson said a camp was planned to set up on January 18 with operations to start the following week.

Mr Anderson, from Bunyip, spent five months working with BlazeAid after the fires in his area.

“Those Bunyip fires were not nearly as big and we cleared 300 kilometres of fencing and helped fence 150km,” Mr Anderson said.

The volunteer aspect is incredible.

“At Bunyip we had 600 volunteers pass through in five months, including catering staff,” Mr Anderson said.

“We also had 14 community groups rostered on to help feed everyone.”

The Bruthen camp will send teams to Sarsfield, Clifton Creek and around Bruthen.

All manner of people volunteer, including grey nomads, and a safety briefing is held every morning.

Teams are made up of six people as well as a team leader with BlazeAid supplies in fully equipped trailers that contain everything from pliers and bolt cutters to chainsaws.

BlazeAid founder, Kevin Butler, has ordered 24 more trailers.

“Initially we’ll start with three trailers but the goal is to run six per camp,” Mr Anderson said.

He said a camp would be established at Buchan when access was made available by the incident controller.

“Our intention is to have camps where the need is,” he said.

“BlazeAid runs on one hundred per cent donations.

“We have no admin or overhead costs.”

It’s a win-win situation where fences will go up more quickly and people will travel to the area.

Mr Anderson said BlazeAid didn’t do fencing contractors out of work.

“There’s plenty of work – there’s more work than anyone can do, even us,” he said.

“Contractors can put the posts up and BlazeAiders can run wires.

“Let’s just get it done quickly.”

IMAGE: BlazeAid’s John Anderson (right) was in Bairnsdale last week taking a look at possible sites for a BlazeAid camp base with Bernie Farquhar of East Gippsland Rotary Fire Aid. The Bruthen Recreation Reserve has since been chosen and a meeting is scheduled for tonight. K23-2076